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Richarz Cemetery Burials and Gravestones

Medina County, Texas

Capt. H.J. Richarz Grave

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Capt. H. J. Richarz

Sept. 8, 1823

May 26, 1910

Rest In Peace

Marker Inscription:  Born Cologne Germany 1822 / Immigrated 1849 to Indianola, Tex. / Moved 1853 to Fort Lincoln at DHanis / First Texas Ranger Capt. Co. E Fort Inge / Patrol area Laredo to Llano River / Fought the Kiowas and Comanches

Inscription #2 for Capt. H. J. Richarz - Among the pioneers of West Texas who deserve a place in Texas history is Capt. H. J. Richarz, one of the gallant men who led the famous Texas Rangers against the savages on the frontier, and stood between these painted demons and the hearthstones of the pioneers.  Captain Richarz was born in 1822 on his father's estate, near Cologne, on the Rhine, being at this writing (December, 1898) 76 years of age.  His father was second burgomaster and head of the municipality of the town of Ella, having now a population of 4,000 souls; also for a number of years head administrator of Castle House, Ella, the residence of the late Princess Louise of Prussia, and up to his death in 1886, at the age of 92 years, honorary president of the War Veterans' Volunteer Rifles of 1813 and 1815.  He was also knight of the Order of the Crown of Prussia, an order for meritorious service from the king of Prussia and the duke of Saxe-Coburg.  Captain Richarz was the eldest son and received a liberal education, first in the town school, and until the age of 16 years at a private academy in the city of Dusseldorf. At the age of 16 years, Captain Richarz joined the same volunteer rifle legion in which his father served through the wars of the allies against Napoleon, and after serving his time out and being three times promoted, quit and took a confidential position as "commissar" of the chief engineer of the Prince Wilhelm Railroad, in the Prussian district of Berg and Mark.  In 1848 he took an active part in the revolution against the absolution and feudal system, having been elected and commissioned as captain of a camp of militia and twice as elector for the representative of the Frankfurt Parliament and House of Representants in Berlin. He also took an active part in the bloody struggles that followed, and in the meantime married. The merciless, reactionary monarchical side being victorious, Captain Richarz chose to go into voluntary exile, rather than be fusilladed or imprisoned for years in a military fortress.  He evaded the civil and military officers, had his property sold to a younger brother, and arrived safely in Rotterdam.  He embarked at Havre, France, and arrived in New Orleans in the fall of 1849.  The voyage across the ocean was disastrous, especially along the coast of Africa, and they were finally shipwrecked near St. Thomas, in the West Indies, and had to stay there two months before they could again get shipping.  From New Orleans, Captain Richarz and his wife and two children went to Indianola, on the coast of Texas, and from there made their way to the San Antonio River and bought 500 acres of land opposite the mission of Espade, nine miles below the city of San Antonio. He brought with him some Saxon merino rams, which he was lucky enough to save, and commenced sheep-raising. He was the first man to import this kind of stock to Texas. In the sheep business, he had a partner named John H. Herndon, of Velasco.  In 1853, he moved with sheep and cattle to Fort Lincoln, in Medina County, fifty miles west of San Antonio. The fort was situated on the Secco Creek, about two miles from the old town of D'Hanis.  Captain Richarz here occupied for two years the quarters of the last commander of that station, Major Longstreet, afterwards, the famous Confederate general. He purchased 500 acres of land near here, and established the first postoffice west of Castroville, at the D'Hanis settlement, and acted up to the Civil War as postmaster.  He served one year as justice of the peace during the war, and after that as chief justice of Medina County. Up to the time of the war, Captain Richarz was the leader of the citizen scouts for protection from the bloody inroads of the savages. In 1861, the brother-in-law of Captain Richarz was killed and scalped by the Indians.

In 1861 he was commissioned by the Governor as major commanding the independent battalion of mounted home guards of Medina County. Part of this force was always placed in camp along the extreme frontier line, and kept scouts constantly out trailing and fighting the Indians wherever they could come upon them. Captain Richarz succeeded in those times in checking to some extent the inroads of the savages and taking a good deal of spoils from them. This state of irregular warfare between the Indians and the volunteer organizations lasted until 1870. The country was really without aid from the government. The sparsely scattered garrisons of regular troops along the Rio Grande, mostly negro cavalry, were not adequate to the occasion. Captain Richarz says the Indians would drive off horses in sight of their camps.

In 1870 the State of Texas, under permit and authority from the Federal government, organized a frontier force of rangers, and Captain Richarz was given a commission as captain of E Company, to be stationed at Fort Inge, on the Leona River, four miles below the town of Uvalde, and also an order from Greneral Beynolds, of the United States army, to take the efficient warriors of the Seminole tribe of Indians under his command. The tribe at that time was under the control of United States agents, and encamped on the Rio Grande. The captain protested against this measure, and argued that he was well informed by personal observation of the unreliability of these savages and their moral degradation, and apprehending corrupting influence of his men. this plan was abandoned.

Captain Richarz placed his men, carefully selected, in various camps, and only retained enough at his headquarters to make an efficient scout, and kept scouts going constantly along the Rio Grande and various parts of the imperiled frontier, and had regular communications from Laredo to the Llano River. After liaving some successful expeditions and fights, one of which was near the Rio Grande, Captain Richarz received command of two more companies of rangers. The last bloody battle which the rangers under Captain Richarz had with the Indians was fought with the Kiowas and Comances, near Carrizo Springs. The scout was commanded by Sergeant Eckford and Dr. Woodbridge. There were fourteen rangers and three citizens in the fight. The Indians numbered seventy, and fought in two lines. Eight Indians were killed, including their chief, who was fantastically adorned, and had four scalps of white women. The wounded of the Indians could not be ascertained. A ranger named Belleger, from Castroville, was killed, and Dr. Woodbridge was knocked from his horse by an Indian and severely injured. So hot was the fire the rangers ran out of cartridges and could not follow up the Indians, and had to return.

The Indians at this time had invaded the frontier in three strong parties, and Captain Richarz was following another band when this battle was fought. About this time Walter Richarz, son of the captain, and Joe Riff, both rangers, were killed on the Blanco by Indians. When the bodies were found, the signs of battle showed with what desperate valor the young rangers had sold their lives.

This was about the last of Indian raids on this part of the frontier. After Captain Richarz left the frontier service he served as justice and attended to his stock and farm. Served one term as representative of the Fifty-second district in the Legislature. His hearing becoming defective, he was incapacitated from further public service, and he spends a quiet life on the west bank of the Seco, in a romantic spot near the foot of the hills, where he attends to his irrigated garden and orchard. He reads the finest print without glasses, and never misses a rabbit or turkey at the distance of eighty yards with a rifle. He has a kind and friendly disposition, and has many friends. His judgment of men and things is astute, and he has a blunt way of talking and expressing himself, but his judgment is seldom at fault. He is a devoted Texan, and liberal in his views.